it funny that when the kids go back to school, we adults seem to hunker
down and get into a more normal routine as well? And that’s true
whether we have schoolchildren or not! One of the ways we dive back
into a fall schedule is to get back into our book reading routine. We
visit the library more. And we wonder, “What do I read now?”
Let’s talk about how you can
utilize your local library better. First and foremost, don’t be afraid
to ask the staff for assistance. They love to match readers with good
I love to look at the end cap
displays to see what they are promoting at any given time. Often they
follow a current theme or holiday, or spotlight the most popular books.
You might find books that are getting a lot of buzz, and save on your
budget by borrowing a popular book rather than buying it.
Go to your favorite section of
the library and figure out ways to browse that area better. Use the
search feature of the computer, but also “window shop” by strolling the
aisles, looking for book covers that grab your attention and back cover
book descriptions that draw you in. You can’t get that from the
Then branch out and go to
sections of the library you aren’t as familiar with. You might discover
a new topic or author this way. The main thing is not to limit
yourself—be open-minded to what words can say to you.
Libraries often provide “read
alike” lists, where you can look up specific genres and authors you
like, and then learn of new titles. Some of their print resources are
very helpful: flyers and bookmarks with tips and information to make
your trips to the library more fruitful. A side note: They also invite
you to various book clubs, which you might like to join, to expand your
If you don’t want to commit to a
new book because you aren’t sure you’ll like it, check it out in
paperback. Often paperbacks have no checkout limits, and since they’re
lightweight they won’t weigh down your book bag. You won’t feel guilty
if you can’t get into one of the storylines, and by having several on
the ready, you will always have a good selection from which to choose,
depending on that day’s whim.
Librarians are like doctors:
They need to know your book-reading preferences to help you find your
next read. You take a list of questions to ask the doctor, so why not
choose from this list of possible “symptoms” to share with your book
My favorite novel genre is ___________
• I like fast-paced, entertaining page-turners
• I like to dig in to a deep-thinking literary book that challenges me
want a main character I can relate to
• I like a multicharacter cast (or I prefer a narrow scope of
• Do you have a coming-of-age story?
• Multibook series are my favorite, when characters can continue to
develop or generations have their stories developed
• A quick-read for a short mind vacation
• I love a humorous book that doesn’t take itself so seriously
• I need a happy ending (or I prefer a surprise ending)
If you want a little fun to help
you figure out some new books to read, there’s a site that can help.
It’s not entirely accurate, but enjoyable:
Do something different this
month at your library. Here are a few ideas:
1. Visit a different library branch from your normal stomping grounds.
2. Ask the librarian for assistance rather than going it on your own.
3. Window-shop the shelves to allow the cover and back-cover copies to
4. Check out more than you think you have time to read to allow for
your whims and any disconnects—you can pick up a new book from your
stash if you have planned to have plenty.